Neuropathic Pain and the Nervous System

By Lisa Cantkier

Neuropathic Pain and the Nervous System

Chronic pain may be the result of disease or trauma to your nervous system, according to new research. In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience’s September issue, researchers show that a condition they refer to as “peripheral and central sensitization” occurs when a person’s damaged nerve fibers with “heightened” responses to normal stimuli end up sending out the wrong messages to the brain’s pain centers. This may help explain why those who suffer from chronic conditions experience chronic pain.

In the study, researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and the Alan Edwards Center for Research on Pain shed light on how the transmission of pain signals to the anterior cingular cortex (ACC) are controlled; the ACC is a significant region of the brain where pain is processed.

The results of the study showed that calming down the ACC’s abnormal activity in the prefrontal cortex drastically decreased the patient’s experience of pain. Ultimately, this research could lead to the development of exciting new treatments for neuropathic pain.

According to Dr. Philippe Séguéla, a senior author of the study, “The ACC has been shown to be a key center to cognitive functions linked to memory and affective functions involved in feelings and emotions. We know that patients who suffer from chronic pain experience impairment of their working memory, difficulties focusing on certain tasks and may suffer from depression and anxiety.”

Read more about the study here and here.

Last Reviewed October 29, 2015

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

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